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Manual Client Reset Data Recovery - Java SDK

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  • Example
  • Track Updates to Objects
  • Track Successful Syncs
  • Manual Recovery with Last Updated Time and Last Synced Time
  • Alternative Implementations


Manual Recovery is Manual

Manual recovery requires significant amounts of code, schema concessions, and custom conflict resolution logic. If your application can accommodate losing unsynced data during a client reset, try the discard unsynced changes client reset strategy instead.


Avoid Making Breaking Schema Changes in Production

Do not expect to recover all unsynced data after a breaking schema change. The best way to preserve user data is to never make a breaking - also called destructive - schema change at all.


Breaking Schema Changes Require an App Schema Update

After a breaking schema change:

  • All clients must perform a client reset.

  • You must update client models affected by the breaking schema change.

The manually recover unsynced changes client reset strategy gives developers the opportunity to recover data already written to the client realm file but not yet synced to the backend. The following steps demonstrate the process at a high level:

  1. Client reset error: Your application receives a client reset error code from the backend.

  2. Strategy implementation: The SDK calls your strategy implementation.

  3. Close all instances of the realm: Close all open instances of the realm experiencing the client reset. If your application architecture makes this difficult (for instance, if your app uses many realm instances simultaneously in listeners throughout the application), it may be easier to restart the application. You can do this programmatically or through a direct request to the user in a dialog.

  4. Move the realm to a backup file: Call the executeClientReset() method of the provided ClientResetRequiredError. This method moves the current copy of the client realm file to a backup file.

  5. Open new instance of the realm: Open a new instance of the realm using your typical sync configuration. If your application uses multiple realms, you can identify the realm experiencing a client reset from the backup file name.

  6. Download all realm data from the backend: Download the entire set of data in the realm before you proceed. If your sync configuration doesn't specify the waitForInitialRemoteData() option, you can call SyncSession.downloadAllServerChanges() after opening the realm.

  7. Open the realm backup: Use the getBackupRealmConfiguration() method of the provided ClientResetRequiredError to open an instance of the client realm file from the backup file. You must open this instance as a DynamicRealm, a type of realm that uses text field lookups for all data access.

  8. Migrate unsynced changes: Query the backup realm for data to recover. Insert, delete or update data in the new realm accordingly.

To handle client resets with the "manually recover unsynced changes" strategy, pass an instance of ManuallyRecoverUnsyncedChangesStrategy to the defaultSyncClientResetStrategy() builder method when you instantiate your App. Your ManuallyRecoverUnsyncedChangesStrategy instance must implement the following methods:

  • onClientReset(): called when the SDK receives a client reset error from the backend.

The following example implements this strategy:


handleManualReset() Implementation

This client reset example calls a separate method that handles the specific logic of the client reset. Continue reading the sections below for an example implementation.

The specifics of manual recovery depend heavily upon your application and your schema. However, there are a few techniques that can help with most manual recoveries. The following example implementation demonstrates one method of recovering unsynced changes from a backup realm.

This example adds a "Last Updated Time" to each object model to track when each object last changed. We'll watch the realm for the "Last Synced Time" to determine when the realm last uploaded its state to the backend. Then, we can find objects that were deleted, created, or updated since the last sync with the backend, and copy that data from the backup realm to the new realm.

Ordinarily, there is no way to detect when a Realm object was last modified. This makes it difficult to determine which changes were synced to the backend. By adding a timestamp to your Realm object classes and updating that timestamp to the current time whenever a change occurs, you can keep track of when objects were changed:

Just knowing when objects were changed isn't enough to recover data during a client reset. You also need to know when the realm last completed a sync successfully. This example implementation uses a singleton object called LastSynced in the realm, paired with an upload progress listener, to record whenever a realm finishes syncing successfully.

You can use SyncSession.addUploadProgressListener() to listen for upload progress events in your App. Implement onChange() to handle these events. Call Progress.isTransferComplete() to check if the upload has completed. When isTransferComplete() returns true, all clientside updates, inserts, and deletes in the realm have successfully synced to the backend, and you can update the LastSynced time to the current time. To prevent LastSynced from looping on updates to the LastSynced time, don't update the LastSynced time if it's been less than, say, 10ms since you last updated the time.

Register your progress listener with ProgressMode.INDEFINITELY to subscribe your listener to all future upload progress events, instead of just the current upload's progress events.

Now that you've recorded update times for all objects in your application as well as the last time your application completed a sync, it's time to implement the manual recovery process. This example handles two main recovery operations:

  • restoring unsynced inserts and updates from the backup realm

  • deleting objects from the new realm that were previously deleted from the backup realm

You can follow along with the implementation of these operations in the code samples below.


This Example is Simplified

This example keeps track of the last time each object was updated. As a result, the recovery operation overwrites the entire object in the new realm if any field was updated after the last successful sync of the backup realm. This could overwrite fields updated by other clients with old data from this client. If your realm objects contain multiple fields containing important data, consider keeping track of the last updated time of each field instead, and recovering each field individually.

Other possible implementations include:

  • Overwrite the entire backend with the backup state: with no "last updated time" or "last synced time", insertOrUpdate() all objects from the backup realm into the new realm. There is no way to recovered unsynced deletions with this approach. This approach overwrites all data written to the backend by other clients since the last sync. Recommended for applications where only one user writes to each realm.

  • Track changes by field: Instead of tracking a "last updated time" for every object, track the "last updated time" for every field. Update fields individually using this logic to avoid overwriting field writes from other clients with old data. Recommended for applications with many fields per-object where conflicts must be resolved at the field level.

  • Track updates separately from objects: Instead of tracking a "last updated time" in the schema of each object, create another model in your schema called Updates. Every time any field in any object (besides Updates) updates, record the primary key, field, and time of the update. During a client reset, "re-write" all of the Update events that occurred after the "last synced time" using the latest value of that field in the backup realm. This approach should replicate all unsynced local changes in the new realm without overwriting any fields with stale data. However, storing the collection of updates could become expensive if your application writes frequently. Recommended for applications where adding "lastUpdated" fields to object models is undesirable.

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